IRS Publication 971: Innocent Spouse Relief

Definition of 'IRS Publication 971: Innocent Spouse Relief'


A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that outlines the three types of tax liability relief for spouses or former spouses who filed joint income tax returns. Couples filing a joint tax return are both liable for the tax liability, referred to as joint and several liability. In the case of a separation, the IRS will continue to consider the tax liability status as joint and several, but in some cases will relieve one partner of any tax, interest and penalties related to the joint tax filing.

The three types of relief are innocent spouse relief, separation liability relief and equitable relief.

Investopedia explains 'IRS Publication 971: Innocent Spouse Relief'


Spouses must complete and file Form 8857 (Request for Innocent Spouse Relief) as soon as they become aware of a liability that they think only the other spouse or former spouse should be liable for. Spouses or former spouses have up to two years from the date the IRS first tried to collect the tax liability to seek relief. The IRS is then obligated to contact the spouse or former spouse to notify them that Form 8857 was filed.

Married spouses who file separate returns but live in community-property states may also seek relief.

IRS Publication 971 does not cover injured spouse relief.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Joint Venture - JV

    A business arrangement in which two or more parties agree to pool their resources for the purpose of accomplishing a specific task. This task can be a new project or any other business activity. In a joint venture (JV), each of the participants is responsible for profits, losses and costs associated with it.
  2. Aggregate Risk

    The exposure of a bank, financial institution, or any type of major investor to foreign exchange contracts - both spot and forward - from a single counterparty or client. Aggregate risk in forex may also be defined as the total exposure of an entity to changes or fluctuations in currency rates.
  3. Organic Growth

    The growth rate that a company can achieve by increasing output and enhancing sales. This excludes any profits or growth acquired from takeovers, acquisitions or mergers. Takeovers, acquisitions and mergers do not bring about profits generated within the company, and are therefore not considered organic.
  4. Family Limited Partnership - FLP

    A type of partnership designed to centralize family business or investment accounts. FLPs pool together a family's assets into one single family-owned business partnership that family members own shares of. FLPs are frequently used as an estate tax minimization strategy, as shares in the FLP can be transferred between generations, at lower taxation rates than would be applied to the partnership's holdings.
  5. Yield Burning

    The illegal practice of underwriters marking up the prices on bonds for the purpose of reducing the yield on the bond. This practice, referred to as "burning the yield," is done after the bond is placed in escrow for an investor who is awaiting repayment.
  6. Marginal Analysis

    An examination of the additional benefits of an activity compared to the additional costs of that activity. Companies use marginal analysis as a decision-making tool to help them maximize their profits. Individuals unconsciously use marginal analysis to make a host of everyday decisions. Marginal analysis is also widely used in microeconomics when analyzing how a complex system is affected by marginal manipulation of its comprising variables.
Trading Center